Oakland Mayor Jean Quan tonight has released a statement in response to the impending BART strike after negotiations fizzled out earlier today.
In her statement, Quan expressed appreciation for the effort put forth by BART management and the unions’ hard work, but went on to declare that “now is not the time to give up.”
“As to the issue at hand, I ask that BART management reconsider and allow these negotiations to move into arbitration for the unresolved work rules issues. An agreement that is fair to both parties is within reach,” the mayor said.
She added, “If the sides cannot reach that agreement at the negotiating table it is time to move to arbitration on these issues to avoid further hardship to BART riders and the greater Bay Area community.”
A marathon bargaining session between BART management and its two biggest labor unions—SEIU Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 — began Wednesday morning, lasted all night and continued today, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said earlier today.
BART General Manager Grace Crunican has participated in the talks, along with three federal mediators.
Negotiators also participated in lengthy bargaining sessions earlier this week. Talks that began on Monday didn’t end until 5:30 a.m. the following day, and talks that began on Tuesday afternoon last until about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
The key issues in the contract talks are wages and employees’ contributions to their health care and retirement plans.
BART workers previously went on strike for four and a half days at the beginning of July, after their previous contract expired, but they have been at work since then as negotiations have continued.